Nick.com has announced the launch of its first online comic book, THE CRIMSON CHIN, an interactive spin-off of Nickelodeon's animated comedy series, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS. The TV series follows the adventures of 10-year-old Timmy Turner and his troublesome fairy godparents Cosmo and Wanda. In August, in a move for TV and online convergence, THE CRIMSON CHIN Webisodes will debut as one-minute interstitials on Nickelodeon.
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On July 12 in New York, the International Flash Film Festival handed out this year's honors. Thirteen winners from the U.S. and around the world received the "arrow" award. The festival is the highlight of the Flashforward2001 conference and expo. The work of all 60 finalists, selected from over sixteen hundred nominations, was screened for the 200 attendees. The winners can be seen at: www.flashforward2001.com. Finalists and winners were selected by two panels of judges from the Flash community.
Mainframe Entertainment and MTV have announced they have begun development on the sci-fi comic TV series GATECRASHER. The half-hour CGI series is designed and written by the team of Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Connor and Mark Waid and is produced in association with Black Bull Entertainment. The show centers around the story of Alec Wagner, a college student who is half-human, half alien and a full time member of the Split-Second Squad, a secret alien army that protects Earth from alien attacks.
Maureen Furniss reviews five more short films straight from the festival circuit. This month we learn about:The Shadow of Doubt by Cynthia Wells, Patrick Smith's Drink, Grace by Lorelei Pepei, Chicken Kiev by Thomas Stellmach and We Are Immortal (Nous sommes immortels) by Daniel Guyonnet. Includes four QuickTime movie clips!
Vancouver-based Studio B Productions has announced that all three of its animated children's series currently airing on Canada's national television have been picked up for another season. "Were very proud to have all three of our original shows picked up for national broadcast," said Blair Peters, partner and founder, Studio B Productions. "There's a lot of competition out there and we're pleased that kids have responded well to our characters and stories." DMYNA LEAGUES follows the wacky baseball adventures of a team of teenage myna birds.
Ted Berman, Disney animator and director of THE BLACK CAULDRON, passed away on Sunday, July 15, 2001. He was 81 years old. Berman started at Disney in 1940, and remained with the studio for 45 years. He started as a character animator working on BAMBI, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, FANTASIA, LADY AND THE TRAMP, PETER PAN, MARY POPPINS and 101 DALMATIANS. Berman was also a key member in creating the Disney television series, THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR and THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB.
Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. has announced profitable results of US$0.2 million in earnings before an extraordinary gain on net revenues of $38.6 million for its third fiscal quarter ended June 2, 2001. These profits were achieved before the gain of $7.1 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, from the early retirement of $13.9 million principal amount of the 10% convertible subordinated notes.
Toon Disney is adding PEPPER ANN to the channel's fall schedule. Produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, the series will make its Toon Disney premiere on Labor Day weekend. The show joins DISNEY'S DOUG, the preschool series RUPERT, MAGICAL WORLD OF TOONS, PRINCESS POWER HOUR and CHILLIN' WITH THE VILLAINS on Toon Disney's fall schedule. "We are delighted to welcome PEPPER ANN to Toon Disney," said Jonathan Barzilay, senior vice president and general manager of ABC Kids and Toon Disney.
New York-based Click 3x, the creative design, animation and production studio, has hired Jason Mayo as executive producer. Mayo, formerly executive producer of arc*light editorial, New York, will oversee production, supervise bidding and manage client relations. He will also assist Click 3x managing director Michael Porte and VP/national sales director Phil McIntyre in planning for the studio's future growth. In joining Click 3x, Mayo reunites with Porte, who was one of the founders of arc*light.
FrameStore has wrapped on a completely 3D spot for Vodafone. The commercial was directed by Mic Graves through Studio AKA for BMP DDB. The spot features two girls on a night out thinking very different thoughts about what they are looking for in a man. Their thoughts are conveyed in comical thought bubbles as they hang out in a nightclub. But their dreams of Mr. Right are burst when his Vodaphone rings playing the song YMCA.
Hollywood-based pre·duk'shen has completed a new 30-second spot for Lubriderm. The commercial, directed by Eric Heimbold, features an alligator swimming in a spa. Conceived by ad agency J. Walter Thompson, New York, the commercial employs the reptilian character to make the point that Lubriderm will "leave you with firmer, healthier looking skin." "Workout" opens in a trendy health spa with a line of women lifting weights. Straddling the end mat is an alligator pumping a dumbbell. The beast is later treated to a Swedish massage and then hits the treadmill.
Tele Munchen Group (TMG) has made an offer to buy out CEO and co-founder Thomas Haffa's 43% share of EM.TV. The offer is reported at DM250 million (US$109 million). However, media giant Kirch Group reportedly has a first-look option for Haffa's stake after it bailed out the troubled company by purchasing a 25% stake this past spring. Former EM.TV exec Nickolaus Becker, who pushed a TMG bail out over Kirch, is shepherding TMG's proposal for Haffa's share. Currently, EM.TV holds a 45% stake in TMG, but it has to sell it in order to get regulatory approval for its alliance with Kirch.
San Francisco-based Western Images is restructuring to focus solely on visual effects, CGI, design direction and creative editorial services. Facility services, which include the linear edit suite, Henry, telecine and video service bureau, will be retired. In addition, the company will expand its efforts in long-form broadcast and feature film effects. As a result of the restructuring, five people were laid off. Four were related to fax work and the fifth was executive producer Ken Solomon. "Kenny (Solomon) worked very hard and was very good.
VARIETY reports that Dreamworks is offering Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz US$5 million apiece to reprise their roles for the SHREK sequel. For the first film the three stars deferred most of their salary to the backend. With SHREK's gross standing at over US$240 million, each has made approximately $3 million on the film so far. Murphy is reportedly the first to negotiate his deal, which will dictate how much the others will receive.
With primetime TV animation boiling down to what airs on Fox, four toon comrades battle it out for rating supremacy. THE SIMPSONS finished at #47 with a 4.9 rating/9 share. The debut of FAMILY GUY's new season placed 63rd in its Wednesday 9:30 pm slot, bringing home a 3.8 rating/7 share. At #69, KING OF THE HILL hooked a 3.6 rating/7 share. FUTURAMA placed 81st, racking in a 3.2 rating/7 share. The U.S. universe estimate used for calculating ratings for the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, UPN, PAX and WB) is equal to 100% of all TV households.
Shanghai-based Hweilai Studios has announced that Dennis Hopper is set to star in a new special effects heavy TV series, entitled FLATLAND. The EASY RIDER star has agreed to appear in 22 episodes as the mysterious villain Mr. Smith, who controls the show's strange universe. The show follows the adventures of three young adults trapped in a fourth-dimension where time and space crisscross. Hweilai is still looking for a distributor in the States. The studio is spending approximately US$1.75 million per episode.
Arriving in stores on September 25, 2001, Fox Home Entertainment will release THE SIMPSONS SEASON ONE COLLECTOR'S EDITION DVD BOX SET featuring every episode from the premiere season. The three-disc set will feature all thirteen episodes from the show's first season and outtakes from an un-aired version of the first 22-minute episode. Bonus features include original scripts and audio commentaries by Matt Groening, James L.
Empire Interactive, one of the U.K.'s leading computer game developers and publishers, and Vivendi Universal Publishing has announced a distribution deal, which will bring six new franchises to North America. The deal includes fifteen titles scheduled to premiere in fall 2001. As part of the deal, VU Publishing has acquired the rights to distribute six of Empire's upcoming titles, VICTORIOUS BOXERS, END GAME, ANTZ RACING, STARSKY & HUTCH, GHOSTMASTER and WORLD SPORTS CARS in the U.S. and Canada. Empire plans to publish the titles for multiple next-generation platforms and PC-CD Rom.
Fred Patten reports from CSLB's growing anime festival. Only in its second year, the festival featured quite an impressive line-up of screenings and guests.
NewTek, manufacturer of industry-leading video, 2D and 3D animation products, has announced the promotion of Jim Plant to the posts of president and CEO. Plant joined NewTek as a consultant in February and was named executive vice president of business and strategic development in April. Tim Jenison, NewTek founder, CTO and chairman, has served as the interim president and CEO since early 1998. As president, Plant will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the company's operations.
Nickelodeon has announced that its new Nick Jr. series, OSWALD THE OCTOPUS, will premiere in primetime on Monday, August 20, at 8 pm. The series follows the thoughtful blue octopus (voiced by Fred Savage of THE WONDER YEARS) and his friends Weenie the dog, Henry the penguin and Daisy the flower. The show was created by children's author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino. Nickelodeon and HIT Entertainment are co-producing the series. The acoustic music in OSWALD is done by jazz musician Evan Lurie, a member of the group The Lounge Lizards.
AurenyA, is about to start production on the next three half-hour specials of STORIES FROM THE SEVENTH FIRE for Storytellers Productions Inc. The computer animation and visual effects studio will be responsible for the 3D animated portion of the half-hour animated and live-action productions, currently to be shown on various Canadian broadcasters, including CBC National, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Vision, Access and SCN.
Boomerang, the classic toon channel from Cartoon Network, will launch on Telewest's digital service, in its Supreme Package, beginning mid-July. Casey Harwood, commercial director U.K. & Ireland for Turner Broadcasting said, "The launch of Boomerang means that Telewest Active Digital will carry all of Turner's UK channels. Telewest consistently delivers high penetration for their TV packages and I am sure the addition of Boomerang will help grow this further." James Greville, head of Cartoon Network U.K., said, "Boomerang is the success story of 2001.
Last weeks #1, Warner Bros.' CATS & DOGS falls to third behind the debut of live-action flicks LEGALLY BLONDE and THE SCORE. CATS & DOGS nipped another US$12 million. The puppy-powered pic, with primary visual effects by Tippett Studios and Rhythm & Hues, has licked up approximately $48 million in two weeks. The much-hyped FINAL FANTASY: SPIRITS WITHIN faltered in its debut, only taking in $11.5 at #4. Produced by Sony and Square Co.
Film Roman has announced that it is stopping its live-action feature development division. Feature division president Mitchell Solomon and production VP David Jung have been let go and their responsibilities have been given to Film Roman president/CEO John Hyde and TV president Peter Schankowitz. This move marks Film Roman's desire to refocus on its core animation business. No word was given on how this decision will affect the live-action projects already in production including the adaptation of the TV series THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO for Disney.